Wolff admits to missing Niki Lauda during difficult times for Mercedes
Toto Wolff says he continues to miss the presence of Niki Lauda in the Mercedes camp as the team attempt to work through their current performance problems and return to winning ways.
Triple F1 world champion Lauda joined Mercedes as Non-Executive Chairman in 2012, helping to lay the foundations for their dominant start to the turbo-hybrid era – which yielded seven consecutive drivers’ titles and eight straight constructors’ crowns.
Often present in the paddock and in the Mercedes garage, the legendary Austrian racer passed away at the age of 70 in 2019, with team boss Wolff stating at the time that the squad had “lost a guiding light”.
Asked about Lauda’s influence, and how much he is missing him as a source of counsel during Mercedes’s current tricky spell, Wolff said: “Niki’s missed all those years because Niki always simplified things to really what mattered.
“I’m having to think what would he have said, and how would he have positioned [things], and the two of us worked well together in that sense that sometimes oversimplification can lead you straight to the results.
“But there are lots of nuances. This is a technical sport, so maybe my role was to translate it in a way that we actually were able to execute it in the car design.
“But this is very simple: the stopwatch never lies, and we see on the data where we are missing and that needs to be corrected.”
With Wolff confirming that Mercedes have committed to a concept change as part of their plans to correct the W14’s issues, he set out what his targets are for the remainder of the 2023 campaign.
“The goals: I’d like to win every race, but that’s not realistic,” he said, after Mercedes went down “a dead-end street” with their 2023 design.
“The goals are that, based on the understanding we have now, over the next iterations of updates and learning, we can shave off a lot of performance deficit, because now we know and now we have all taken a decision in which direction to go.”